Rome conference: Health of the sick and salvation of souls – Church and society in this dark hour of history TEXTS & VIDEOS NOW AVAILABLE! – Voice of the Family %

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

On 23 October, Voice of the Family held an international conference in Rome on the theme Health of the sick and salvation of souls – Church and society in this dark hour of history. The conference was a great success and a long awaited opportunity to gather again in person after many months.

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We were honoured that His Eminence Willem Cardinal Eijk, the Archbishop of Utrecht, gave the keynote address, looking in depth into the crucial moral, social and scientific questions at the root of the current controversies surrounding the pandemic. His Eminence’s nuanced analysis on the ethical questions concerning Covid-19 vaccines was of particular importance because of his standing as a pastor, a medic and a bioethicist. His Eminence explained the prevailing dispute over the liceity of the Covid-19 vaccines which are produced or tested with fetal cell lines with the lack of consistent moral formation of Catholics rather than insensitivity to the evil of abortion. “It is true,” His Eminence said, “that faithful Catholics recognize the Church’s teaching on absolute norms, in this case, the norm concerning the absolute prohibition of procured abortion, but often they do not know about the casuistry of classical moral theology.” He went on to explain how from the ‘50s and the early ‘60s classical moral theology was often replaced with new moral-theological theories, which suggested that no mortal sin or intrinsic evil exists on the level of the concrete moral act. These theories, His Eminence explained, initially served to justify the use of contraception. However, the spreading and promotion of these ideas, also led to the eclipse of the principles which classical moral theology used in order to apply moral absolutes in difficult cases. Consequently, these principles, largely developed by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori in the 18th century, became superfluous; they were often no longer taught and fell into oblivion. In his presentation, Cardinal Eijk demonstrated in detail how principles of classical moral theology should be applied to respond to the current pandemic and, in particular, to assess the liceity of receiving the Covid-19 vaccines on the basis that they have been developed or tested on fetal cell lines. 

His Eminence’s systematic analysis of the various aspects of discernment in the current pandemic concluded that recourse to the available Covid-19 vaccines is a proportionate means of protecting one’s personal life and health. While it could be argued, based on the information and official data available concerning the virus as well as the vaccines, that being vaccinated against Covid-19 is a moral obligation, this would not mean that it is also a juridical obligation, he emphasised. The compulsory administration of vaccines is not ethically justified. The decision to be vaccinated must be taken voluntarily by the person receiving the vaccine.

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Rome conference: Health of the sick and salvation of souls – Church and society in this dark hour of history TEXTS & VIDEOS NOW AVAILABLE! – Voice of the Family %

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